I guess many of you have been following the news concerning the minister who was shot by his wife recently. Here at Metro there are folks who are suggesting that maybe the wife was abused or that we don't know all that went on behind closed doors. Others suggest depression, PPD, or something else. Maybe it is one of those rare cases of domestic violence where the woman has been controlling (and this killing may be an incidence of abuse). I know that we will find out more as the story unfolds. In any case it is a tragedy.
What caught my attention was the story in People magazine about the "role and pressure" of preachers' wives. Lori and I had a great discussion about that. She indicated that she had never felt the pressures described in the article. Interesting. Have we been lucky in our 18 years of ministry together (21 for me) or have we not fallen into the "trap"? Is it possible that ministry is complex enough that the couple need to draw lines of expectations? I hear at times that ministers and wives make the statement, "my wife is (I am) not a traditional preachers' wife" but what does this mean. Is it possible that the congregation is a black hole that sets the expectations of the wife so high that our response is to be different and proud of it? Or is it the couple's responsibility to serve, work hard, and clarify the role of ministry?
I once visited a widowed preachers' wife with my baby one afternoon. After a few minutes of talking she mentioned how important it was that I spent time with my family and it was nice that I took my son visiting. She then began to talk about how her husband (who was a powerful preacher in the church while alive) had put tGod and the church above her family and their children. As I listened I began to ask myself if "traditional roles" are actually the result of preachers who have neglected the most important people in their lives. Is it possible that the pressure on the "preachers' wife" is actually neglect from her husband? Is it possible that PKs and their struggles are actually actions of neglected children?
I love Lori and feel she is my best friend and partner. She works hard and loves the ministry that we do together. Yet, I have to sacrifice (I hate to use that term) and make sure I have the kids and she gets to fulfill her giftedness in ministry. I also know that she gets neglected from the congregation at times, but for me to neglect her is a greater sin. Its hard taking the kids visiting but it gives her a break and them time to see what we do. It frees her up to meet with women and counsel them. I think that 1 Cor. 9 tells us that Peter was accompanied with his wife and no greater joy can there be than when husbands and wives do ministry together.
Are there pressures or neglect? Thanks Lori--I couldn't imagine doing this without you. You help me to see things and understand people's feelings that bring glory and honor to Jesus.
I love you!